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“Yes, you played a pretty awful first half. But … ” Growth mindset in 12-year-old basketball players.

“Yes, you played a pretty awful first half. But … ” Growth mindset in 12-year-old basketball players.

He even missed the backboard in the first half. 

Twice.

Once from the right. 

Then from the left. 

It wasn’t pretty. 

"Yes, you played a pretty awful first half. But ... " Growth mindset in 12-year-old basketball players.
The Team

At the half, he came to me. “Coach, I shouldn’t play in the second half. I can’t make a shot. I’m terrible.” 

I shot back quickly. “Yep, you were awful,” and I hit him in the arm and laughed. He was surprised, but laughed, too. 

I kept going, “But you missed from the right then you missed from the left. The next ones are going straight down the middle and into the basket. You had an awful first half, but that first half has nothing to do with the second half. The first half is in the past and the second half is in the future.” 

It seemed like he was listening. Which was nice. So I kept going. 

“The team needs you in the second half. Things are going to turn around for you, you’ll see.” There was hope in his eyes. 

“Now go grab a sandwich and get some water and we’re going to turn this around, OK?” 

“OK, coach,” he ran off to the bench to get a sandwich. 

On the first play of the second half, he put up an off-balance shot and it went in. 

You could practically feel the electricity in the stadium go from negative to positive–as clear as the two sides of a battery. It was all coming from him.

He turned to me and gave me a full-toothed smile and big thumbs up. He hopped like a bunny to get back on defense and I’m not sure he knew he was still part of this earth. 

He made a few more shots soon in the second half and his world was right again. 

His defense was on, he had loads of energy, and he was smiling during it all.

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” 

Words can hurt us. They can also help us. 

Who do you know who’s had a rough first half and could use a lift heading into the second? 

Pull them up. Extend your hand. Give them a lift.

It might cost you a minute of your time and it might mean the difference between a “1” in the win column, a smile for the rest of the day, or dare I go out on a limb and say that it could be the beginning of the second half of something much greater that turned around because of one moment in one day and something you said to help them, to make a difference. 

According to the laws of the universe, we weren’t supposed to win last week. But we did.

According to the laws of the universe, that player was supposed to have a bad second half. He didn’t.

Whose second half can you influence?

"Yes, you played a pretty awful first half. But ... " Growth mindset in 12-year-old basketball players.
“Yes, you played a pretty awful first half. But … ” Growth mindset in 12-year-old basketball players.

Basketball photo way above: Photo by Clayton Caldwell on Unsplash.

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